Aromatherapy for seniors

The essential oils of plants and flowers have been used across many cultures for thousands of years to improve both physical and emotional well-being. Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological and physical wellbeing. It is an alternative medicine that aims to lessen stress. Aromatherapy for seniors and their carers offer a lot of benefits. Some of these are improved sleep and digestion and reduced stress, pain levels, anxiety, and depression.

Benefits of aromatherapy

Aromatherapy has not yet undergone as much scientific scrutiny as other complementary therapies, but it may be effective in helping with some complaints. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Reduced muscle tension and joint pain
  • Stimulation of the body’s natural immune responses
  • Increased oxygen and nutrient supply to body tissues
  • Reduced depression and uplifts mood
  • Relief of anxiety.

Risk of aromatherapy

Some aromatic plant oils are toxic and should never be used at all – for example, camphor, pennyroyal and wintergreen. Aromatic plant oils are very potent and should never be swallowed or applied undiluted to the skin. People with asthma and those prone to nose bleeds should use caution when inhaling vaporising oils. If poisoning occurs, ring triple zero (000) or the Victorian Poisons Information Centre on 131 126.

Popular essential oils

A few of the popular aromatic plant oils and their uses for the following symptoms include:
Peppermint – digestive disorders
Rosemary – muscular pains, mental stimulant
Sandalwood – depression, anxiety and nervous tension
Sweet orange – depression and anxiety
Tea tree – respiratory problems, antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral
Lavender – headaches, insomnia, burns, aches and pains.

Other helpful resources:

How to use pure essential oils for the elderly
Pain management and aromatherapy

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